The following article was found in the Lowell Public Library clippings files (LH--Vital Statistics, vol. 1, page 48):
John L. Worley was born near Union City, Indiana, April 28, 1820, and died November 21, 1902, age 82 years, 6 months and 23 days.
He leaves a wife, seven children, twenty grand-children and twenty-nine great-grand-children to mourn his loss. He was the only son of John and Elizabeth (Wood) Worley. He descended from Caleb and Rebekah Worley, who came to America with William Penn on his second voyage in 1699. He was reared until his sixteenth year by his mother's relatives, his father having died before he was born. In 1839 he came to this county, where his mother had preceeded him, and purchased a claim to the land where he has ever since resided, with the exception of a few years residence in Lowell.
On November 20, 1840, he was married to Sarah Beadle, after which he built a cabin and engaged in improving his land. Mrs. Worley died August 16, 1841, leaving a babe a few hours old. This child now resides in DesMoines, Iowa, the wife of Henry Lathan. Mr. Worley's second marriage was to Naomi Hathaway on December 20, 1843, to which union were born six children -- Nathan, Willis, Perry, Benjamin, Maria and Henry, all living. Two of these, Nathan and Willis, participated in the defense of the Union in the War of the Rebellion.
In 1862 Mr. Worley attempted to enlist in the service of his country, but as he failed to pass a successful physical examination, he was rejected. Throughout the period of the Rebellion, however, he devoted himself, so far as lay in his power without injury to his family, to the relief of those who were dependent on our soldiers who were fighting their country's battles, by donating to their material wants and by words of comfort to those whose loved ones would never return, and has endeared himself to the surviving soldiers of that War by his earnest and steadfast friendship through all the years since that War.
He assisted in organizing and was elected Captain of the first detective association in the county that was formed for the prevention and detection of crime and the punishment of persons found guilty of committing violations of the law. For years before his death, he was the only surviving member of this band of determined men that formed the association. Under his leadership of this association, the lawless bands of plunderers and horse thieves that infested the region bordering on the Kankakee marsh in the early days of its history were broken up and dispersed.
Until prevented by the infirmities of age, he was an active participant in every movement that was inaugarated for the moral tone of the community. In politics he was a Democrat until the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, after which he became a Republican and remained as long as he took an active part in politics; although voting the Prohibition ticket the last few elections preceeding his death.
In June 1840, while yet in his early manhood, he embraced the cause of Christ. As there was no religious meetings in his community in those days and feeling the importance and urgent need of them, he obtained permission of his stepfather, with whom he was then residing, to have family prayers on the morning and evening of each day. He then went to other families that had lost thier interest in Christianity and talked with them on the subject. In this way he aroused an interest in Christianity and religious worship and the resut was that prayer-meetings began to be held at various homes in the community. This little nucleus gathered others around it who accepted Christ and soon a congregation was organized with the Bible as the guide in all matters of faith and practice. Social meetigns were held until January 1842, when a preacher was called to minister to them one-fourth of his time, and by the beginning of the year 1848, the congregation numbered twenty-five. School houses were then being built and the little congergation met in these as the opportunity afforded until the year 1858, when they rented a hall in Lowell in which they held their meetings regularly until 1869 when the present house of worship was built. To Mr. Worley is due, perhaps more than to any other, the credit of the organization and growth of the Christian church at Lowell. He not only served as an officer, but his wise counsel and executive ability and his love for the church steered it safely through the hours of darkness and firmly established it on the citadel of peace and prosperity. And in his death the church loses the last one of its charter members.
His religious duties led him into various fields of activity. Not only as a church officer; but in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, he was a brave consecrated and fearless worker. He was truly one of God's warriors and man's friend, and has left the temporal home which he has adorned with an earnest and consistent Christian life to receive the blessed inheritance of a "mansion in the skies" and enjoy eternal life in the bosom of the everlasting God.
The remains were taken from his home by Funeral Director Clifford Stowell, who had direction of the burial service, at 9:30 a.m., and were brought to the Christian church where the funeral services were held. An escort composed of Burnham Post G.A.R., and a large concourse of relatives and friends accompanied the remains. The following post members acted as pallbearers: Amos Thompson, Lesley Gragg, H.H. Purdy, George Clark, Thomas Dickinson and Samuel Nichols. The services were conducted by Elder John Bruce, assisted by Revs. Murphy and Hoagland. The Christian church choir rendered very appropriate hymns. Prayer was offered by Rev. Murphy, who also read the obituary. The scripture was read by Rev. Hoagland, after which the sermon was preached by Elder Bruce, which he did in a fervid, sincere and impressive manner, for in Father Worley he had a subject that was almost perfect, and those who heard his discourse say they never heard him address himself in the presence of the dead with more feeling, or in language more choice. At the close of the services the casket, on which reposed several floral pieces, was borne to the hearse, and thence to the city cemetery, where, after short services, the remains were lowered to their last resting place. The funeral services were largely attended, and the expressions of sympathy for the bereaved were heartfelt and sincere.
Go to John L. Worley, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.
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